Saturday, August 8, 2015

"I have been, and always shall be, your friend"

This is a crummy way to bring my blog out of semi-retirement, but it’s something I need to write.

Over a month ago, I was contacted on Facebook by a mutual friend of mine and Sheria Reid’s. I met him through Sheria, and he was reaching out to several of us to let us know that Sheria had died, apparently of a massive heart attack.

I hope Sheria will understand that I haven’t been able to write about this yet. I needed time to process it and get over the worst of the grief, although there is still much there. I’m crying as I type this.

We encountered Sheria years ago, back in the Days of Yore when we were all writing our blogs on AOL Journals. Almost ten years ago! A friend said, “You should read her blog...I think you guys would like each other.” Boy, was she ever right. We hit it off immediately and became great friends online. We were both political junkies, and we both were proud supporters of Barack Obama. The 2008 campaign made for some heady days. A small group of us became email buddies as we parsed and discussed every aspect of the campaign. I met so many wonderful people through Sheria, including Mark, Bruce, Aaron, Brendon, and Louise. I am still friends with all of them, and I know we were all devastated to lose our friend. We all obsessed over the polls, and when Obama won on that wonderful night in 2008, we all celebrated.

You see, Sheria was a black woman who grew up in the Jim Crow South. As joyful as I was at Obama’s victory, I can only imagine how much it meant to Sheria.

The 2012 campaign didn’t have quite the same historic impact that the 2008 campaign did, but we were joyous all the same. Sheria and I often pushed back at our brethren on the left who felt that Obama should be doing more, issuing more executive orders, putting his foot was all good, a wonderful bond between those of us who shared the same vision as our President and wanted our country to move forward. We could have such discussions and still remain committed to the progressive cause. Sheria was a lawyer, and brought an amazing depth of knowledge to such discussions. She was my “go-to” when I had legal questions about politics. “Can Texas really secede?” “Can Obama really issue such an order?”

We were just starting to talk about supporting Hillary vs supporting Bernie. I don’t doubt that our little political group would have had many lively discussions about that.

We also shared a mutual love of science fiction, especially “Star Trek.” I think we loved it for the same reason: a vision of a future where racial divides were long a part of history, and the purpose of this diverse group of people was scientific exploration. A common goal, without the division that we still face in this country every single day. It is still a goal to work towards.

And oh, her laugh...that hearty laugh. We were also fans of “I Love Lucy,” and often joked about my Lucy to her Ethel. We were able to laugh at the absurd, and when she occasionally got down about some of the things she’d read online, I would advise her to “Stop reading the comments! Nothing good can come from it!” I know I wasn’t the only one to pull her out of feeling such despair by making her laugh, but I’m glad I was in that number. She always talked about how her Aunt Dorothy cautioned her to not get so het up about such things, because her “head would explode.” We talked each other down from imminent head explosions quite often.

As I watch the current Republican primary debacle, I miss Sheria even more. I would love to be discussing this with her, sharing thoughts and ideas and laughs. The thought of what she would say about Trump alone…! Ken and I loved her so much that we made a point to stop in Raleigh and see her on our way back from one of our Florida vacations. We had a wonderful time, eating North Carolina barbecue at a restaurant she recommended, and we enjoyed our fellowship so much that we met for lunch the next day before we headed home. I am so grateful that we stopped to see her and were able to meet her in person.

I miss her political commentary, I miss her legal knowledge, but mostly I just miss the wonderful, amazing, brilliant woman that she was. I am forever grateful to have met her and to have had her in my life. I think the feeling was mutual, and that makes me grateful, too.

I miss my friend, and I always will.